Life and Death in the Animal Kingdom

The cat died a couple of days ago.  She had pretty much stopped eating as we went into the preceding weekend and no longer wanted to be petted. We would find her just sitting in front of her litter box or in front of her water bowl as if she just couldn’t remember why she had been headed toward them or just didn’t have enough energy to go any further. I asked the vet (Dr. Cohen at Alexandria Animal Hospital on Duke Street) to euthanize her Tuesday morning. She died peacefully while I stroked her head.

Dino Spouse and Mouse have mostly stopped tearing up at the thought of the cat. Mostly. They took it the hardest. Me, I’m still sort of peevish and efficient, which is apparently how I grieve as an adult.

Podrostok loved the cat. He was sad. TeenBot, who is allergic to all animals and plants, claimed that he was not. Neither of them seemed too upset on the day of. But they both had the sulks yesterday, and last night they busted out into full-on fisticuffs over pretty much nothing. The final casualties (between their fight and related rage attacks on inanimate objects) were two sections of drywall, one vanity mirror, two pairs of glasses, one set of sliced-up knuckles, and Mommy’s lumbar spine (after bodily separating the bull elephants from each other twice and threatening to summon the police before I finally managed to get them into separate rooms). Dino Spouse got home about 20 minutes afterward, as Mouse and I were cleaning up blood splatter while TeenBot dressed his wounds and Podrostok hid in his room. It was truly a crappy night for everyone.

I really hope they learn other ways of coping with grief before they reach adulthood.  They will certainly learn a lot about drywall repair and handling broken glass, at this rate.

(Poor Mouse. Between being scared out of her 11 year-old mind by her brothers’ performance last night and then reading the latest Time article about rape on college campuses, she’s  had way more consciousness-raising about violence than she can stand.

(Maybe I should have refrained from laying on the “attacks on inanimate objects will escalate into physical violence against people, do not tolerate this behavior if you’re in a relationship” speech to my girl as we were sweeping up glass off the floor. After all, the boys’ wrath was directed at each other, and she wasn’t even in the same part of the house as they were while they were fighting. But it seemed like a teachable moment.)

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